After missing the final four games of Wisconsin’s season with a broken clavicle, Joel Stave had progressed to the point health-wise that there was talk he could possibly start in the Rose Bowl.
As it turns out, that’s all it was — talk.
Following the Badgers’ final practice before leaving for California, interim head coach/athletic director Barry Alvarez indicated in no uncertain terms that senior Curt Phillips will start at quarterback for UW against Stanford New Year’s Day.
“Curt won that championship game. He’s earned the right to start,” the former coach said.
Phillips replaced Stave following the injury and started all four games, including the 70-31 romp over Nebraska in the Big Ten championship game. While the Badgers were just 2-2 in Phillips’ starts, both the losses were in overtime — to unbeaten Ohio State and on the road against Penn State.
In those two losses, Phillips attempted a total of 50 passes. In the two wins? A whopping 15 total.
Phillips is actually the third quarterback to start for the Badgers this season. After transferring to UW from Maryland in the offseason, Danny O’Brien started the first three games before getting yanked in favor of Stave due to “performance issues.”